War News Updates: White House To Alter U.S. Military's Global Role

Why do I have a very strong suspicion what Obama really means is, “Let’s gut the military to Carteresque levels?”

The Obama administration, with very little fanfare, has launched what national security experts say is the most significant reconsideration of the United States’ military role in the world since at least the end of the Cold War.

Without a drastic reduction in missions assigned to the services, a drastic reduction in defense dollars leads to poor maintenance, higher personnel turnover, lower quality recruits, poor morale,and  lower availability of equipment and units. With the same mission set, this leads to a higher operating tempo per unit. And that results in poor maintenance, higher personnel turnover, lower quality recruits, poor morale,and  lower availability of equipment and units. It quickly becomes a death spiral.

But that’s not important. What is important is taking over the entire healthcare industry.

via War News Updates: White House To Alter U.S. Military’s Global Role.

17 thoughts on “War News Updates: White House To Alter U.S. Military's Global Role”

  1. Our President fails to appreciate the traditional relationship between our economy and our military. Like it or not (personally I like it; Noam Chomsky…not so much), the military has been effective at projecting US policy and protecting US economic interests abroad. Until this President decided it was to be used solely for humanitarian purposes, that is.

    Keeping a lid on the Middle East wasn’t easy, but the four previous Presidents managed to do an adequate job of it. This one just let it boil over. Now oil prices are out of control.

    All of our economic projections are based on historical precedent, where we enjoyed 4 – 5% GDP growth. Those growth levels, however, relied on stable, affordable imports of materials, and stable overseas markets to sell to. Reducing the military role & budget is pretty much guaranteeing us decades of economic decline, so we’ll lose all of the money we’re supposedly saving with these cuts.

  2. Question: What facilities/installations/formations in Western Europe are absolutely essential to operations in the Middle East?

    Proposal: Close down all facilities/installations/formations in Europe except for a combined AF/medical center in Germany with enough ground troops to maintain positive security of the facility. Also, maintain two air bases in Britain; one for a bomber force, and another for a mixed air superiority ground attack force. Inform the EU that they’re going to have to defend themselves from now on.

    Question: How much money and personnel would the above proposal save us?

  3. The Army is already looking at less reliance on contractors, and more reliance on soldier-mechanics, as a budget cutting measure. That will lead to poor maintenance, higher personnel turnover, lower quality recruits, poor morale,and lower availability of equipment and units.

    1. Really? Soldier mechanics are poor mechanics just because they are mechanics. And how will a reliance on soldier mechanics lead to higher personnel turnover, lower quality recruits,poor morale,and lower availability of equipment and units. Please backup your statements with actual data and/or your own experience. For what it’s worth, I think you’re full of crap. Prove me wrong, I dare you.

  4. Trevor,
    I don’t argue that soldier-mechanics are bad; I don’t believe that for a minute. It has been my experience that they are some of the hardest-working and most motivated guys around. However, contracted mechanics are generally used to offset either a shortage of available mechanics or an increased workload, either in a deployed or garrison environment. Largely a matter of mathematics, less Soldiers to do more work often results in shortcuts and a decrease in quality of life, both of which affect retention, and quality of maintenance, and readiness. Say you are in a mech unit that deploys to Iraq and brings its tanks or Brads but parks them. The mechanics still have to maintain the armored fleet and the MRAP/UAH fleet, essentially doubling their load. Now, your company maintenance team of ten soldiers probably deployed with only 9, every month you send 1 home on leave, and one got pulled up to be on the BN CSM’s security detail. Now, our CMT (auth 10) actually is at 7, and of those maybe one is on detail, the M88 crew went on a late recovery mission, etc. So, now we are manned at a daily present-for-duty of maybe 6, but doubled the size of our vehicle fleet. Now it is time for quarterly services on the vehicles. The Maintenance Allocation Chart says that it takes hypothetically 30 hours to do the services on one M1151 UAH, and we have upwards of 20 in our company. But, an experienced Soldier can do it in 23 hours. But the company commander said “that truck better be operational before tomorrow’s mission” because we already have a couple deadlined trucks. Is the mechanic going to do ALL the services from the book? No, he is going to do that which has to be done to get the truck ready to roll. By the way, the mechanics can’t possibly do all the services to MAC standards based on time available. Maintenance suffers accordingly. Life sucks for this mechanic, and he is already planning to get out. By the way, they are also stuck doing maintenance on the crew’s vehicles because they are too tired from an 8 hour patrol in 100+ heat, they inspect, dispatch and do quality assurance on every vehicle.
    Now, my last trip to Iraq, we had contracted mechanics that would do any job that our org mechanics didn’t have time or skill to do, including Q, semi-, and annual services which is one of the biggest time savers. All you did was drop the truck off and go pick it up when it was done. Life is good for this mechanic, and he is planning on re-enlisting.
    Now, is there a direct and causal correlation as described by “joe” above? No, but there is a correlation, nontheless. Except for “poor mechancis” and “lower quality recruits,” I can see a linkage between the loss of contracted mechanics and all of the others. Not dramatic, but it is certainly there, and particularly in a deployed environment where the cost savings are the greatest.

    1. Are the contracted mechanics replacing soldier mechanics that used to be organic to a given unit, but were cut during a past reduction in force. Said another way, were the supposedly high cost/not needed during peace time soldier mechanics replaced by supposedly lower cost contracted mechanics because the powers that be realized too much was previously cut now that we’re fighting a war?
      It would be interesting to compare organizational tables from several points in time to see how things have changed over the last 30 or so years.

  5. In my experience, I was not dealing with MTOE cuts to mechanics over time, just contending with operational realities. I would also argue that the MTOE is not sufficient with regards to mechanics, but that is another issue altogether.

    1. I think the low manning levels of mechanics (and a lot of other support positions) is partly due to the focus on Europe in the Cold War, and partly due to the Div86 expansion under Reagan.

      For the Cold War/Europe, the supposition was always that the fight would be sharp and short. No one anticipated having to sustain combat brigades in combat for 12 month rotations, with units rotating in on previous outfits vehicle sets. So they sized the mechanics (and a lot of other support forces) in anticipation of that.

      Also, when Reagan raised the army to 18 divisions, he couldn’t raise the end strength to the levels that would normally be needed to support that. You ended up having light divisions that were very, very light indeed (about 10,500 troops in the entire division), and shaving troops from just about every other slice of the pie as well. Maintenance teams, food service support, medical platoons, everywhere… And I don’t think the Army took a very hard look at some of those numbers when they went to the Brigade Combat Team model.

    2. Let me make another point about contractors… or several…as someone who has spent some time as a “contractor.”

      While a great number of them fill the rolls in the mess halls or motor pools, there are many who fill specific technical or otherwise specialty roles that could not possibly be filled by uniformed personnel. In my specialty of communications, there’s simply nothing to compare to 20 years of experience (inside and outside the military). If I were in uniform, I’d be some high up mucky-muck who could not get his hands dirty. As a contractor I was able to directly apply my experience to the task at hand (as opposed to my officer days where inevitably I was pulled away from the task at hand by all those “administrative” distractions).

      As a comms officer, in the Army, I was constantly behind the technology (as the whole Army was). As a civilian contractor, I have no choice but to keep on the cutting edge, lest my skill set go stale.

      Some time back, an old Army pal asked me to help compose training plans for the IT MOSs, specifically parts focused on loading and configuring issued computers. I declined the job, but offered my advice – just put Dell’s help and warranty web sites on laminated 3×5 cards for issue upon AIT graduation. Anything written about computer maintenance in the manuals today is obsolete upon printing.

  6. In Marine Corps artillery I never saw a battery that was “fully” manned. Until Operation Desert Storm. To do that batteries stationed on Okinawa were stripped of personnel and skeletenized or outright put under operational control of Desert Storm battalions. (If I remember correctly.) To make up the difference two USMC reserve batteries, one from Mississippi and one from New Jersey, were sent to Okinawa. Until they landed at Kadena (I think) they thought they were going to kick some booty in the desert. That’s my experience with the issue at hand.

    1. The 1st Armored Division left one of its infantry battalions behind, as it just gearing up to change from M113s to Bradleys. That battalion (mine) was stripped of all its dismounts, and the were distributed to the other battalions, beefing them up to a notional 120% strength. But after deployment, levies from division, brigade, and battalion HQ brought the strength in rifle companies back down to about 90% again.

  7. Undermanning is rampant in the army. Before my last deployment, the BCT was brought up to about 105% strength, and come deployment time, we barely got out the door at 90%. This shortage, at about 400 people, represented nearly a recon battalion’s worth of power. Most of these non-deployers were “legit” ranging from legal issues, to medical issues, and a cadre of 42 to take care of the remainder. Some were Soldiers awaiting pending births, some had not been back from their previous deployments for a full year. As I alluded to in earlier post on mechanics, this makes it difficult. Also, other than the first and last month of a year-long rotation, you must send 10% of your force home on leave every month. That leave (14 days) actually represents at least 3 weeks loss of the individual based on travel time from within the theater. So, most units are manned at around 80% in theater.

  8. Trevor,

    You need to learn to read. I never said that the soldier- mechanic performed poor maintenance. I said that less mechanics led to poor maintenance. Do you have any understanding of the MARC-Gap? Man power studies use 3120 hours per year for peace time, and 4368 hours for war time for a soldier mechanic. Those hours are just unrealistic, meaning that the maintenance cannot be performed, or cannot be performed correctly by just soldier mechanics. Without contractors (and we are headed that way), less maintenance will get completed. Mechanics will be under constant pressure, retention will be low…

    I am a retired Army Maintenance Warrant. I have worked in the motorpool, and I have worked in a 4 star HQ. I have worked Org, DS, and GS maintence, and apparrently I am full of crap.

    1. That deferred or poorly performed maintenance is cascading, also.

      The Navy is learning to its great sorrow that its “optimal manning” has left them short of people to do the most basic upkeep of its ships, even relatively simple, but manpower intensive stuff like corrosion control on the hull, and it is costing them a lot of years of potential useful life for some very expensive ships.

      AAMCO had it right~ pay me now, or pay me later.

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